Written by Julian Reda
Edited by Meredith Evridge

The day began with an early wakeup.  Everyone really enjoyed their sleep. The breeze made everyone so much more comfortable. We had a buffet breakfast of cereal, bagels, oatmeal and fruit. After breakfast, the Open Water divers headed ashore for their first confined water dives, and the Fun divers dove the wreck of the HMS Rhone. All others went ashore for water sports, stand up paddle boards, and shop time. There was something for everyone, and they enjoyed hopping between activities as they pleased. The ice cream shop sold all sorts of tasty flavors to cool us off.

Around lunchtime, we headed back to boats for grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. The Open Water divers then went back ashore for more confined water dives and skill practice, while the rest of us headed to one of our catamarans for a lesson on dangerous sea creatures and how to recognize them. It was led by one of our marine bio staff and they taught us about many different critters including sea urchins. We then dinghied over to Cistern Rock for a snorkel where we saw filefish, a turtle and other reef fish. There was a squall during this time and it rained heavily for a few minutes. Instead of this turn in the weather being a negative thing, we were all feeling alive and not minding being soaked at all. Especially considering that we were already getting wet! The sun promptly came back out in full force, assuring us that it was back in its rightful place and ready to warm us up. We are already accustomed to such swings in weather, knowing that if a dark cloud passes over our fleet, it will be brief!

After we all got our chance to check out the Cistern Rock action, it was time to head back to boats for showers. Sudsing up and finishing off with a few seconds of fresh water, we prepped a dinner of barbecued chicken, potatoes and green beans. It was truly delicious – AND nutritious. Once we finished dinner, we headed ashore for a nighttime soda social. We had a great time getting to know everyone from the rest of fleet, illuminated by the moon above us and the soda within us.

The day ended with a quick boat clean followed by boat meeting, wrapping up a perfect day on Cooper Island.

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